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Squirrelmail vs RoundCube vs Horde – The best of the lot!

Webmail is a great way to access your emails when you are away from your home.

And servers offer many options like SquirrelMail, RoundCube, Horde Mail etc. to access webmail.

All these options have many merits and some demerits. The right choice is often confusing to users.

At Bobcares, we help customer to effectively choose and set up these mail applications as part of our Dedicated Support Services for Web Hosts.

Today, we’ll do a comparative study of SquirrelMail vs RoundCube vs Horde Mail.


Why use webmail?

A natural question:  Why to use webmail , when you have options to use many feature rich email clients like Outlook, Windows Mail, etc.?

The reason is that most Web Hosting providers block access to their servers based on IP address. There are servers in which certain countries are completely blocked. So what if you are traveling and you need quick access to your business emails ?

Webmail comes handy here!

Most servers provide 3 different options for accessing Webmail. Now, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each of these applications.



SquirrelMail was the simplest webmail interface available. Yes, it was an option for users who need a simple interface with easy option to read and reply to emails.

SquirrelMail has stopped its security updates back in the year 2013. As a result, all major control panels including cPanel has stopped SquirrelMail usage.


Although, SquirrelMail is no longer supported, it offers many merits. They are:

  1. Easy to use interface
  2. Address book option to store email addresses
  3. Search and flag mails.


The major drawbacks of SquirrelMail are :

  1. Do not support HTML composition. Only text mails are supported.
  2. No updates and even recent versions have problems with interface.

For customers who have been using this simple interface for webmail, still there are options to continue its use.

In cPanel version 78 and above, it supports custom webmail applications and can add SquirrelMail as an option. But, its maintenance and security updates will be completely server administrators responsibility.



Now let’s see the next webmail application, RoundCube.

RoundCube is for users who need a user-friendly web interface with some additional features. Unlike SquirrelMail, it offers features like HTML message composition, custom mail plugins, etc.

RoundCube is a database driven application. It works on a database type called “SQLite“.



The major pros of RoundCube are:

  1. Supports HTML composition
  2. Allows spell check
  3. Drag and drop feature in organizing mails
  4. Support third-party plugins for out of office, authorization, etc.
  5. Automate message composition with email templates



Though there are many user friendly features, RoundCube also has its share of demerits. They are:

  1. Limited search – Allows to search for one item at a time
  2. Non intuitive interface
  3. Often address books crash and needs recreation
  4. Refreshing large mail folders time out



We have already seen the merits and demerits of both SquirrelMail and RoundCube now. The third option is Horde.

Horde is a webmail application that covers major demerits of RoundCube and SquirrelMail.

It is for users who need a full suite of features like mobile email access, advanced tools, etc. By default, Horde also uses database back-ends.

For example, in cPanel server, each cPanel account possesses its own Horde SQLite database.


Let’s have look at the pros of Horde.

  1. Supports Calendar option
  2. Allows scheduling – task lists and event reminders
  3. Supports News feed
  4. Users can also create email filters and set preferences



Despite all the benefits, Horde also shows some demerits due to wrong configuration.

It can cause problems like :

  1. Login failed issue due to configuration mistakes
  2. Partial database entries in Horde database
  3. Wrong per user settings in Horde interface.

But, when properly configured, Horde proves to be one of the best webmail interface. And, that’s the reason why our Dedicated Support Engineers often set Horde as the default webmail application in servers.



Choosing between SquirrelMail, Roundcube or Horde depends largely on user’s personal choice and the purpose of use. Today, we have seen a comparative analysis of SquirrelMail vs RoundCube vs Horde.


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Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.